Sleep deprivation occurs when an individual gets less sleep than they need to feel awake and alert. The amount of sleep needed each night varies from person to person. So, even when you think you are getting enough sleep, you still may be suffering from sleep deprivation.
The symptoms of sleep deprivation are not necessarily as clear-cut as you might think. In other words, it’s not just feeling sleepy all the time that is your cue that you are short on sleep.
So how do you know? Here are some tips:
Everyone has trouble sleeping now and then. We all experience the occasional sleepless night and groggy morning. We may even go through a period when we experience these, such as during life transitions, and stresses. When sleep deprivation may be more of an issue is when it is a regular occurrence, and is unrelated to circumstances.
Lack of sleep can make people very irritable and anxious, sources say. Are you snappy and impatient? Do you find yourself having little tolerance for your own mistakes and those of others? It may be lack of sleep that is the culprit.
2) Increased Appetite and/or Weight Gain
Did you know that a lack of sleep may increase your appetite and lead to weight gain? Perhaps the body’s need for energy when it’s sleep-deprived is what leads to a craving for sweets, carbohydrates, or just food in general. Increased appetite may also be the result of hormones that kick in when the body is deprived of sleep.
Even without a marked increase in appetite, research has shown the sleep deprivation can result in weight gain. This also may be due to hormonal imbalances caused by too little sleep.
If you find yourself making silly mistakes on a regular basis – dropping things, forgetting dates on the calendar, messing up your schedule, and so forth – it may be your sleepy brain. Studies show that those who don’t get enough sleep have a hard time performing normal tasks that are no problem when they are getting enough sleep.
As with other mental disorders, sleep deprivation may not be a cause of depression, but rather a symptom. However, some sources do point out that depression can result from a lack of sleep. If you are feeling depressed and are having a hard time determining why, you might take a look at your sleep habits.
5) Disorientation, Hallucinations, and Paranoia
Sleep deprivation may also lead to some unexpected psychiatric consequences. These are surprisingly common, and much like the other symptoms, correlate with the degree of sleep deprivation. Some of these consequences include: disorientation, hallucinations, and paranoia.
6) Lack of Sleep Kills Sex Drive
Sleep specialists say that, sleep-deprived men and women report lower libidos. Depleted energy, sleepiness, and increased tension would all be a huge factor in this.
Overcoming Sleep Deprivation
The only long term solution to overcome sleep deprivation is to increase your nightly sleep time. There really is no other sure way.